player shooting basketball at hoop

So many cities offer so much to do in and around their basketball arenas. (Photo: Getty Images)

Health + Fitness

Will Travel for Basketball: 11 Great Places to Catch Your Team on the Road

Nothing beats the excitement of catching live pro basketball — it’s a slam-dunk. Nowadays, the actual game is just one piece of the puzzle. There’s also a special game-day energy to soak up in the basketball arenas and the surrounding neighborhoods, including restaurants, bars and other attractions.

Let’s discover what it’s like for fans to visit some amazing hoops cities across America.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.


At Boston’s TD Garden, avid shoppers buy basketball jerseys, caps and other merchandise at the recently expanded ProShop. You can walk on the actual parquet on which the home team captured the championship in 2008. Head upstairs to The Sports Museum to admire half a mile’s worth of historic Boston sports artifacts.

Charlotte, North Carolina

The Spectrum Center in Charlotte offers thrilling basketball action, but the area around the stadium also has amazing pregame attractions.

Love auto racing? Visit the nearby NASCAR Hall of Fame, featuring heart-pumping racing simulators and tributes to speed demons like Richard Petty. Into science? Take the kids to Discovery Place Science, which has an aquarium and IMAX theater.

For a taste of Charlotte’s Southern hospitality, order Carolina barbecue pork pizza at the Spectrum Center’s Flight Deck restaurant.


Chicago’s always-energized United Center‘s basketball championship heyday was the 1990s. And if you live for sports history, there’s plenty to check out in the Windy City beyond this 20,917-capacity basketball arena’s statues of Michael Jordan and Bobby Hull.

Head down Madison Street for a Reuben sandwich at the Palace Grill. More than 80 years old, the restaurant is brimming with Chicago hockey memorabilia.

At the Chicago Sports Museum, interactive exhibits let you shoot free throws or test your vertical leap against legendary basketball players. The museum also includes everything from game-used World Series equipment to a history of sports superstitions.

Las Vegas

Women’s pro basketball has taken off in Las Vegas. You can also enjoy NBA Summer League action at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Check out the on-campus Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art‘s ultra-colorful contemporary exhibitions. At the nearby Pinball Hall of Fame, play some 200 vintage pinball games from the 1950s onward.

Within walking distance, sample close to 100 tasty dishes at The Modern Vegan. Fries N’ Pies delivers inventive takes on poutine and pizza.

Los Angeles

The Staples Center is home to two basketball teams and surrounded by downtown Los Angeles attractions. In the L.A. LIVE entertainment district, tour the Grammy Museum‘s interactive exhibits on musical genres ranging from country and hip-hop to classical and jazz.

Music lovers can get their groove on at the Grammy Museum, which spotlights all forms of music and the creative process behind the songs, plus does a deep dive into the technology of recording.

Or, choose to browse through more than 500,000 used books at The Last Bookstore.

Feeling peckish? Head to the 1924-founded Original Pantry Cafe, a 24/7 institution specializing in comfort food like pork chops and pancakes. Or go for Broken Spanish‘s cutting-edge Mexican dishes.


miami speed boat tour
Zip through Miami’s waters on a speedboat tour. (Photo: Courtesy of Thriller Miami)

In Miami, waterfront fun abounds near the city’s basketball arena. Fans of “Miami Vice” love taking a 45-minute power catamaran tour with Thriller Miami Speed Boat Adventures. The tour features views of celebrity homes and South Beach’s art deco architecture.

Culture buffs dig Museum Park, including the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science and the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Eat a Black Forest Burger or German-inspired grub at Bavaria Haus, which offers progressive German food. NIU Kitchen gets raves for its Spanish tapas, from Catalan sausage to shrimp gazpacho.

New York City

The Big Apple boasts two world-class basketball arenas, and the action never stops here.

Got courtside seats at Madison Square Garden? Go behind the scenes before the game with the 75-minute MSG All-Access Tour. Or walk up Eighth Avenue to Spyscape to solve espionage challenges and learn about World War II heroes and Cold War traitors.

In Brooklyn, the $1-billion, 2012-launched Barclays Center welcomes basketball fans. Entertainment options abound nearby.

royal palms shuffleboard club
Play with a round of shuffleboard with the locals. (Photo: Courtesy of Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club)

At the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, food trucks and tropical drinks augment the old-school fun for hipsters. At Union Hall, whose interior resembles a library, you can play bocce ball, enjoy live comedy or devour house-made mac and cheese.


Basketball fans in the know at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center pack the top-floor, 23,000-square-foot Assembly Room during games. This lively club has four fireplaces, locally themed cocktails, food ranging from tacos to turkey wings, and artwork that reimagines important moments in Philly history.

The nearby XFINITY Live! entertainment district features hot spots like the Broad Street Bullies Pub and Geno’s Steaks.

Want a breath of fresh air before the game? In the neighboring 348-acre FDR Park, check out the ducks at Meadow Lake and skateboarders pulling tricks at the renowned skatepark.

San Francisco

The waterfront Chase Center, which debuted in 2019, is an ideal jumping-off point to San Francisco’s resurgent Mission Bay neighborhood.

Visit the 1896-founded Anchor Brewing, the U.S.’s first modern craft brewery, for a pint of California Lager. Or grab a pregame bite at Moshi Moshi, a San Francisco mainstay since 1987. Its extensive selection of whiskey and sake complements the spicy salmon rolls and cold soba noodles.

If you scream for ice cream as well as for three-pointers, the ultra-sweet and interactive Museum of Ice Cream is just 10 minutes away by car.


inside real sport toronto and shrimp scampi plate
Grab a beer and a bite at Real Sport. (Photo: Courtesy of Real Sport)

Toronto celebrated its first professional basketball championship in 2019, and you can always find ways to live it up around Scotiabank Arena.

Real Sports boasts a 39-foot HD screen broadcasting games, a 100-foot-long bar and an extensive, multiethnic pub menu. For a 54th-floor panoramic view and Canadian fare like bison tartare or Baffin Island turbot, Canoe is the restaurant of choice.

View the Stanley Cup and other iconic hockey artifacts at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Adrenaline junkies can brave the EdgeWalk, a tethered, hands-free walk around the CN Tower, 1,168 feet off the ground.

Washington, D.C.

The Capital One Arena is the heartbeat of Washington, D.C.’s, Chinatown. The game-day experience here makes it well worth a road trip for basketball fans.

You might spot some of your favorite sportswriters refueling on shepherd’s pie and Guinness at the down-home Irish Channel pub.

Don’t miss the “Champions” exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Superstars depicted range from Larry Bird to Babe Didrikson Zaharias.